The decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to remove Farooq Sattar as the Convenor of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) comes as a shock to many for several reasons.

In light of the Constitution of Pakistan, each political party has the right to decide how it wishes to be governed. However in the case of a breakdown in functioning as severe as this, the ECP can be called into arbitrate in the light of the party’s own constitution and procedures. After no resolution of the MQM’s power struggle seemed apparent, the ECP declared the intra-party election null and void.

While Dr Farooq Sattar railed against the decision, calling it “managed”, the verdict was on the cards. He had lost support of the majority of Rabita Committee and couldn’t muster the numbers to keep himself in the position of Convener. The veritable mutiny by party members was certainly the result of political machinations, but the verdict stands relatively justified

What becomes of the MQM, its vast voter base of urban Karachites, and its various splinter groups, is anybody’s guess. The decision has now steered the party – what remains of it - into a completely new direction, where the policies that it will adopt need to be thought out from scratch. It is going to be interesting to see which side they will choose to align themselves with. Both sides at this point, the government and the opposition, need to shore up support in Karachi and will be avidly watching the fallout to pick up the pieces for themselves.

It is difficult to see the party regaining lost ground and emerging as a powerful force in Sindh politics before the next elections. The large urban voter base, and the problems faced by historic Muhajirs in the province still remain as they were.